Monthly Block – August version IS HERE!

AUGUST

AUGUST

So, you’ve already seen the drawings, and the idea. This one came about sort of funny, meaning I knew what I wanted to do, drew it out, colored it in and chose some fabrics. Then I erected my ‘design wall’, which was essentially a piece of batting i hung on the wall with tacks. Cheap, fast and hey, it fit the bill!

pieces on design wall

pieces on design wall

When I hung the pieces up on the wall, I liked the look, but decided I didn’t want each block to be of a specific color, with those cascading down. Rather, I preferred to have more of a gentle wash effect. I ALSO decided that I would repeat this quilt for September, but with a dark background color. That meant I would need to cut everything twice, so any parts I had cut that I had too much of, I would just use for the September version and fill in the spaces with some new fabrics.

So I chose some more fabrics between the colors I already had and took down the details of my choices on paper as I moved them around on my design wall. This was tedious, since I really prefer the throw it together type scrap quilts.

So now I had my desired layout up on the design wall, and the duplicates in a pile sorted out from one corner down to the bottom. I didn’t want to lose track of what went exactly where, so I put together the top with the dark background first while I left my visual reference up on my design wall. So basically September’s top center is finished. ūüôā

I quickly put together August’s top center, and then promptly left the country on vacation.

August top center

August top center

But when I came home not only were many quilting jobs awaiting my attention, this baby needed borders! This stage took me a few days, but I finally settled on a darker-than-the-center-background color for the inner border, a brighter of two reds for the mid (because it tied in better to the outer border),

borders

borders

and the outer border 4″ of the brown leafy batik used for the pinwheels.

August monthly version

August monthly version

Were I to make this quilt again (aside from September, ha), I would use something different for the pinwheels. Perhaps I would have them change shade as well, instead of having them be a constant fabric. You can see how they sort of disappear as the block colors darken.

pinwheels against light

pinwheels against light

pinwheels against dark

pinwheels against dark

So let’s compare again:

“The” block –

"THE" block

“THE” block

January result – all scraps in turquoise, bright pink and green (and white)

finished quilt top

finished quilt top

February result – scrap white and purple dyed, sashing matches center blocks (focal fabric)

February quilt

February quilt

March result Рdifferent center, but magenta and purple and white match it. I placed the white and purple triangles specifically to ensure the pinwheel came out

march quilt

march quilt

April result – crayon box threw up. center squares were inspiration, all brights were scraps that matched lines in center squares. totally random placement

april quilt

april quilt

May’s version – I think this should be called sunburst

may version of monthly block

may version of monthly block

Here is the quilt WITH the border –

may quilt top with border

may quilt top with border

I keep these two photos in here because¬†I think it’s SO important to include a border on quilts. It makes a frame, which is¬†like¬†closure for your¬†eyes.¬†I think it makes a quilt look finished.

And here’s June –

June version quilt top

June version quilt top

And, July

Julys quilt top

Julys quilt top

While I like the more complete/less sparse look of July over June, I think if I made this quilt top in different colors, with something lighter than the red, that I might like the finished product even more.

And of course, August:

August monthly version

August monthly version

See how many different quilts can be made with just one block and a little imagination? Don’t be put off by a quilt pattern photo in colors you don’t like – give the pattern a good, hearty look, and consider how YOU could make it with fabric you DO like! It might end up becoming your favorite quilt!

 

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Monthly Block – August Version COMING SOON

I was sort of smacked from the side at the arrival of August, and up until last Friday, I hadn’t even thought about what I would DO for this month! Fortunately I made my decision quickly, found some fabric to work with and started cutting.

So I thought I would give you a sneak peak at what’s to come. I will also divulge that September will look familiar, but as with every month so far, it will also be different.

Last year, a local quilter make a model for the store that had sort of an ombre look to it. The pattern was leaves with a light background, all batiks, and it was quite striking. So that was my inspiration for this month. Once I found the colored pencils in my daughters room, I sketched it out and then found some fabrics to work with.

august sketch

august sketch

specific placement of colors

specific placement of colors

This is my makeshift design wall. I was so excited about this I got up at 530a and started on it. So this piece of batting was great until the sun came up. Then I had to move it over so the light didn’t shine through the window and mess with my eyes.

pieces on design wall

pieces on design wall

OK, that’s it. That’s your teaser. After a little time on the beach I will get this girl finished up and post the results. Until then, happy quilting!

 

RETREAT! RETREAT!

It’s a good thing, really. I truly enjoy going to retreats.

After becoming a professional quilter/quilt maker, it took me over a year to go to a retreat. My first group was small, and it became my favorite place: Heavenleigh Escape. This place is in the boonies. Bad cell reception, iffy wifi, pigs, horses, donkeys, cats, puppies, you name it. C O U N T R Y. And I loved every minute of it.

So much so that I went back there the next time I retreated, and honestly, despite what anyone else says about the other amazing places in DFW (there are A LOT of them), this will ALWAYS be my first choice.

I used to bring tubs and tubs of fabric, figuring I was unsure of what I would want to work on, so I should bring all the stuff I MIGHT want to work on. As my retreat savvy grew, my ratio began to change. Now I bring significantly more food than fabric. Ha ha. BUT I do now WHAT EXACTLY to bring with respect to my UFO’s (unfinished objects).

I have had the opportunity to attend four retreats this year. The one before the last was impromptu. It was held up north in the boonies, and they claimed to have tools for the quilters for cutting and ironing, as well as a store attached to the retreat center. They did indeed have all that, but the cutting boards were so worn and the cutting blades so dull that it was really hard to do a good job cutting anything. There was only one ironing station, so that was a bottleneck as well.

This taught me to never assume what would be available at retreat. I am not one to bring along my own cutting mat and ruler and itty bitty ironing pad and mini iron, so instead, I make advanced preparations so I can be productive anyway, despite the conditions I walk into.

The last retreat was in Scottsdale AZ, so I had to rent a machine and fly my stuff out. So I  absolutely had be prepared for anything. I had no idea what the conditions would be, how many people would be there, the number of cutting or ironing stations. But I knew, if I showed up with my projects mostly precut, I would be able to keep sewing and do my ironing when the station was open, without it stopping my progress altogether.

So I went through my scraps and pictures torn from magazines of quilts I wanted to make the week prior to going, and matched them up. If I needed 2.5″ squares, I precut my squares and strips in advance. If I needed other sizes, I cut those too, and¬†stuck them in a¬†ziplock bag with the photo so I’d know what went with what.

In the end, this resulted in amazing productivity. During both retreats I got a TON of work done. Now I need to put a lot of borders on and get some stuff quilted!

dimes and quarters 1

dimes and quarters 1

dimes and quarters 2

dimes and quarters 2

dimes and quarters 3

dimes and quarters 3

pillow or mini? leftover blocks

pillow or mini? leftover blocks

With this pattern, I cut everything in advance so I had enough for 3 quilt tops. Each block has fairy frost background and the ugliest scraps I could find as the concentric circles. I had time the week before retreat to sew on the circles and trim the backside, but not to lay out and assemble them into tops. This one above was extra, so it might end up a wall hanging or a table topper or a pillow.

64 patch

64 patch

scrappy iguana

scrappy iguana

The two above will be charity quilts, because they were basically near assembled when given to me. The blocks themselves were done, and with the 64 patch I finished the last block, found some sashing I liked and finished it. The iguana blocks were done, so they just needed putting together. Thanks Diane W. for the scraps – someone will enjoy these gifts when I get around to quilting them!!

Japanese trees

Japanese trees

table runner

table runner

The top one was scrap Japanese print fabrics in various sized triangles that I trimmed to one size and offset with the tan, then sashed in black between the triangles and around them. I like the end result. The black and batik squares were put together in strips of 5 squares. So I figured this was ready to become a table runner, I just needed to add a few squares so they were every other and each row was the same length. I found the borders from fabric I had at retreat with me, so this one just needs quilting!

crazy bird

crazy bird

My second attempt at hand embroidery, I changed his legs a little bit. He just needs a frame now!

postcards

postcards

I learned to make fabric postcards at my retreat too, so I made three!!!

seaside

seaside

confetti

confetti

These two were made entirely of batik scraps. I cut them prior to retreat and when I showed up I could just sew and sew. They went together quickly and easily!

rhubarb pie

rhubarb pie

The photo of this kit in the magazine showed pinks and greens, but I wanted to use browns and reds, and already had some squares in those colors cut up. So I cut some additional strips and had enough to make a pretty big quilt. I did have to adjust at retreat because I didn’t have enough for the quilt I had planned to make – this was due to my failure to look at the size of the quilt in the photo. I had to shave off a row and a column. I think this one is plenty big.

bricks

bricks

I brought this stack of fat quarters (I think I had 6 or 7), with the flower fabric being the tie in that all the other fabrics matched. I cut them into 4″ x 10″ blocks and sewed them together. Boom. Took maybe three hours for this quilt to be cut and finished!

bright log cabin

bright log cabin

And finally this beauty. I actually wasn’t sure what I would do and decided AT retreat. I had brought a bunch of black scraps, knowing I would base a lot of projects at this particular retreat with blacks, so I could use them in a number of ways. Based on the number of squares I had, doing the setting looked best this way (rather than an offset looking diamond). Yesterday I added borders and quilted it and I LOVE how it turned out!

log cabin finished

log cabin finished

What can I say? I love my job. Sometimes I need to quilt, and sometimes I need to sew.